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The Questionnaire: Toronto’s top YouTube stars on how they made the leap to TV

“With YouTube, you can make whatever you want, but you are alone. In TV, you work with amazing people, but it takes forever and it’s so censored”

By Barry Jordan Chong
Toronto's biggest YouTube stars on how they made the leap to TV
Jasmeet Singh Raina

Crave’s Late Bloomer

Dream job as a kid: “Anything in the arts, but I gravitated toward acting.” You knew social media was a viable career when… “I started paying for my university tuition and books with YouTube earnings.” Craft services go-to: “They made really, really good oatmeal on set—every day a different kind. I used to think it was boring white-people food, but no.” Comedy hero: “Dave Chappelle. Whether you agree with him or not, his ability to take risks and stay true to himself is admirable.” Toronto or LA: “Toronto. People here dress better than people in LA.” Favourite place to come up with ideas: “I wrote a lot of my show in Leslieville, at Tango Palace Coffee Company. I would go there every day. The coffee and snacks were great, and there was also a diverse cast of customers to watch.” You know you’re getting better at your job when… “I don’t feel overwhelmed. TV can be so anxiety inducing. I’m learning to adapt and solve problems.” Best and worst thing about your industry: “I’ve met many talented people. On the downside, people can be afraid to take risks in TV.” Social media in 2024 will be… “I want to say less polarized and less scary for artists. But, honestly, it will probably be more polarized.”


Toronto's top YouTube stars on how they made the leap to TV
Julie Nolke

Celebrity doppelgänger: “I’ve gotten Winona Ryder before.” You knew social media was a viable career when… “I was 24 and making YouTube videos for fun. Then people started emailing me about opportunities and the paycheques got bigger.” Comedy hero: “Mike Myers, for the originality of his characters.” Hardest part of your job: “Trying to be creative in a short amount of time. In my field, you have to be the creator, the artist, the admin and the negotiator.” Toronto or LA: “Toronto, no question. There are too many industry people in LA, and they’re not normal. They need to hang out with non-industry people.” Favourite place to come up with ideas: “My home office. It’s a good balance of order and chaos.” You know you’re getting better at your job when… “I don’t know if I am. But I do feel that I’m digging deeper and creating stuff that’s more reflective of my life.” Best and worst thing about your industry: “With YouTube, you can make whatever you want, but you are alone. In TV, you work with amazing people, but it takes forever and it’s so censored.” Social media in 2024 will be… “More regulated. I bet there will be warning labels. It can be dangerous. I think about this a lot as a new mother.”


Toronto's top YouTube stars on how they made the leap to TV
Jae and Trey Richards

CTV’s The Office Movers

Dream job as a kid: “Trey wanted to be a firefighter, but I think he really wanted to be Lil Wayne. I wanted to be an artist, whatever that meant.” Celebrity doppelgänger: “We both get Anthony Davis a lot.” You knew social media was a viable career when… “We got our first $100 cheque from YouTube, and we went and bought cheeseburgers for us and the crew. We never set out to be wealthy—just happy and healthy.” Craft services go-to: “Production food is never good. It’s like airplane food. But Trey wants to start putting together menus from our favourite restaurants, like Gold Standard for breakfast sandwiches and Maker Pizza.” Comedy hero: “Larry David showed us that you can make fun of the smallest things—that people have crazy thoughts and you can turn that into comedy.” Hardest part of your job: “Communicating to family and friends how hard it is to balance our schedules.” Toronto or LA: “Toronto. The people here have a special personality; we step a different way. There’s a sense of relief every time we come home.” Social media in 2024 will be… “Jae says it will be crazier, but I think it will be reborn. There’s going to be a new wave of talented people.”

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